In 2009, Beatrace Oola founded Africa Fashion Day Berlin as a celebration of African Fashion in Germany. It provides a way for designers to access the German market and for Afro-Germans to have an authentic connection to what’s happening with fashion in Africa. We wanted to know more about the event and her thoughts about the potential for African fashion in central Europe.
After a great evening surrounded by the style and glamour of the latest creations, we took a break from the Fashion African Brands Exposee to meet with the founder and organiser, Beatrace Oola.
“This was all about awareness and insight – there’s a lot happening in African fashion that people just don’t know about”
“I’m really pleased that we were able to get together with Mercedes and host this kind of sociable event where people could see that there are serious African brands out there, brands that can deliver and that you can rely on to produce quality”.
The Entrepreneurial CEO of APYA productions told us she was, “Full of confidence and pleased to see some of the individuals I’ve been working with for years, finally able to showcase their talent in front of an international audience”.
Beatrace is based in Hamburg and has plans to expand her Africa Fashion Day Berlin platform beyond its origins in Germany’s capital city. We asked about the other talented artists whose designs she expects to see breaking into the European fashion scene.
“There a lot more talented designers out there whose work is really making a huge statement for African fashion. Gloria Wavamunno from Uguanda has some really impressive collections. Alexandra Tamela and Selly Reby are also producing some outstanding work”.
Beatrace offered some clear advice for any fresh creatives who are keen to follow in the footsteps of Studio 1981 and De Le Sebure: “Young designers out there need to be organised and look for a mentor who is in the fashion field. Think business-oriented and find out who is your target group and be serious about the price that your products deserve”.
Despite all of the recent socio-economic turbulence that has buffeted Germany in recent years, it is still the fourth largest economy in the world with a trade surplus of almost €270m a year.
The Afro-German market alone comprises almost 600,000 consumers and the success of the Fashion African Brands Exposee that we attended, shows that there is a huge and profitable appetite for African design in Germany overall.
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